Tuesday, November 09, 2004

New Kendall Rumors

The Beaver County Times reports that the Pirates and Padres are talking about a trade of Ryan Klesko for Jason Kendall.

Again, I'm not sure what the Padres get out of this unless they're planning another trade as well. As Geoff Young at the Padres blog Ducksnorts points out, Kendall isn't a huge upgrade over Ramon Hernandez, the catcher the Padres already have.

In its current form, this deal is intriguing for the Pirates. Klesko is also only owed $16 million over the rest of his contract, while Kendall's is worth $34 million. More importantly, this deal isn't that bad from a baseball perspective. Some baseball fans here in San Diego talk about Klesko in disparaging terms, probably because he didn't hit his second homer of this past season until mid-July. But Petco Park was extremely tough on hitters last year, and Klesko still managed to put up an .847 OPS, which put him right behind Brian Giles' .849. Giles put up better-looking numbers at PNC, and so would the left-handed Klesko. Even better, Klesko had a superb .399 on-base percentage last year.

If Klesko were to join the Pirates, he'd likely have to play first base. He's decent there, and he's bad to the point of being hard to watch in the outfield. That would, or should, mean that Craig Wilson and J.R. House would share the catching and right field positions (unless Littlefield can somehow also get Hernandez in the deal, in which case I'll almost be inclined to take back every bad thing I've said about him). The Pirates' defense would take a huge hit as a result, but the offense would probably be downright decent, especially given that the Pirates would have some money left over to sign a real free agent.

1. 3B Koskie (Hey, why not? He gets on base and he runs well.)
2. SS Wilson
3. CF Bay
4. 1B Klesko
5. RF Wilson
6. LF To be determined (J.J. Davis? Tony Alvarez? Free agent?)
7. C J.R. House
8. 2B Castillo

That's really pretty good. It probably won't happen, since these Klesko rumors seem farfetched and Dave Littlefield will probably find a number of ways to shoot himself in the foot (by, for example, resigning Jose Mesa), but this is the sort of lineup that would make me excited to watch the Pirates hit.

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